Religion News Australia 2014 - 22 (June 22 - 29)

  (28 June 14)
  by Greg Spearritt

Religion News Australia

June 22 - 29, 2014

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)




abuse / anglican church / catholic church  / education / international stories / islam / religion & society





Vatican's handling of sexual abuse claims against Wollongong priest John Nestor in spotlight (ABC News)
June 24 - It took nearly 20 years for the Vatican to dismiss a Wollongong parish priest after allegations against him first emerged, the royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard.

Towards Healing did not have Vatican approval, child abuse inquiry told (The Guardian, Australia)
June 25 - Towards Healing, the process the Australian Catholic church used to deal with allegations of child sexual abuse, did not have Vatican approval, a royal commission has heard.

Sleeping with boys was 'common practice': royal commission on sex abuse in Wollongong, day 3 (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 26 - A disgraced clergyman claimed it was ''common practice'' for priests to sleep with boys when he was under investigation by Catholic Church assessors as part of the Towards Healing process.

Vic priest accused of 1970s abuse (The West Australian)
June 26 - An alleged victim was compelled to come forward after 40 years of silence by the prospect of his aunt's funeral being conducted by the priest he says sexually abused him as a boy.

Abuse allegations a 'charade': church man (The West Australian)
June 26 - The former canonical advocate for a priest accused of molesting boys once called a church investigation into the alleged abuse a "witch hunt" and a "charade", but now says he was later shocked by the evidence.

Priest didn't report rumours of 'boys running naked' at camps despite his concerns (ABC News)
June 27 - A priest who heard rumours of "boys running naked" at camps run by another priest says he refused to help promote the so-called "summer safaris", but did not report his concerns to authorities.

Senior orthodox Jewish leaders face cover-up inquest over child sex abuses (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 27 - Some of Australia’s most senior orthodox Jewish leaders are under investigation for allegedly failing to report multiple instances of child sexual abuse.

Vatican's shroud of secrecy on sex abuse (The West Australian)
June 27 - A senior Australian Catholic lawyer has outlined how the Vatican has used a culture of silence to prevent the world discovering the sordid details of its investigations into pedophile priests.



Melbourne archbishop Philip Freier chosen as Anglican primate of Australia (The Australian)
June 28 - MELBOURNE archbishop Philip Freier was today chosen to lead the Anglican Church in Australia, elected by a special synod of laymen, clergy and bishops from across the country, convened in Adelaide.

Also: New primate Phillip Freier signals women priests push (Brisbane Times)
June 29 - The appointment of more female bishops and priests - and a series of high-profile clashes with the Abbott government - are likely to follow the appointment on Saturday of Melbourne's Archbishop, Dr Phillip Freier, as the primate and spiritual leader of the Anglican Church of Australia.



Inside the creepy crypt that’s the final resting place of Jesuit Brother George Sadler (
June 28 - AT FIRST glance, it’s hard to tell that the idyllic St Aloysius’ Church has a deadly and tragic past.



Chaplaincy in schools

Labor to oppose school chaplaincy funding without secular option (The Age, Melbourne)
June 23 - Labor will oppose any attempt by the federal government to continue the school chaplaincy program unless it includes funding for secular welfare workers.

Also: Labor set to oppose school chaplaincy revival if religious links remain (The Guardian, Australia)
June 23 - Bill Shorten has signalled Labor will oppose the Abbott government’s efforts to revive the national school chaplaincy scheme if the Coalition insists on a condition the workers be affiliated with religious organisations.

Anglicans: No chaplains, scripture in public schools (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 24 - NSW public schools should spend government funding on tackling obesity and promoting wellness and positive psychology rather than the untested chaplaincy program that are in hundreds of the state's schools, the head of Sydney's Anglican Education Commission has argued.

School chaplains left to work without oversight (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 26 - Chaplains will continue to work in NSW public schools for at least six months without the regulation or oversight of the federal government, after the High Court ruled the national program was unlawfully funded.




Ex-Vatican envoy defrocked for sex abuse (The West Australian)
June 27 - Vatican City (AFP) - The Vatican's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been convicted of sex abuse by a church tribunal and defrocked pending further criminal proceedings in the first case of its kind.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis 'excommunicates' mafia (The Guardian, Australia)
June 23 - Pope Francis has issued the strongest condemnation of organised crime groups by a pontiff in two decades, accusing them of practising "the adoration of evil" and saying that mafiosi were excommunicated.

Pope Francis the most influential world leader on Twitter, study finds (
June 26 - POPE Francis has by far the most clout of any world leader on Twitter because he is so widely retweeted, a study of political use of the social network shows.

Tired but smiling, the pope gets back to work (The West Australian)
June 29 - Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis returned from a brief respite on Saturday, receiving the Madagascan president and delegates from the Orthodox Church after a "sudden indisposition" forced him to cancel a visit a day earlier.


Malaysia's highest court dismisses divisive 'Allah' case (ABC News)
June 23 - Malaysia's highest court has dismissed a bid by Christians for the right to use the word 'Allah', ending a lengthy legal battle that has caused religious tensions in the Muslim-majority country.

Sudan releases Christian woman Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag from death row (ABC News)
June 24 - Sudan has released a woman sentenced to hang for converting to Christianity, after her death penalty sparked a major international protest.

Also: Sudanese woman takes refuge in US embassy (Brisbane Times)
June 27 - Khartoum: A Sudanese Christian woman detained when she tried to travel to the United States after her release from death row, has sought refuge at the US embassy after being freed, her lawyer said.

Also: Sudanese woman Meriam Ibrahim 'safe and well' in US embassy (The Guardian, Australia)
June 27 - The husband of a Sudanese Christian woman facing threats after her apostasy death sentence was overturned has expressed relief that the family has been given refuge at the US embassy in Khartoum.

Also: Sudan Christian's lawyers to seek dismissal of forgery rap (The West Australian)
June 28 - Khartoum (AFP) - Lawyers for a Sudanese Christian woman who has sought refuge at the US embassy will seek dismissal of forgery charges against her so she can then leave Sudan, one of them said Saturday.

Indonesia's beef price rising but supply's good ahead of Ramadan (ABC News)
June 26 - Indonesia has enough beef for the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on the weekend, but prices in the traditional wet markets have risen.

Ramadan conundrum at World Cup (The West Australian)
June 29 - The Muslim players in World Cup teams that have qualified for the second round in Brazil face a thorny question on Sunday when much of the Islamic world will start observing the holy month of Ramadan with a dawn to dusk fast.

Religious Violence

Boko Haram ‘kidnaps another 60 girls’ from Nigerian villages (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
June 24 - AS the world focuses on the conflict in Iraq, the crisis in Nigeria continues with reports that another 60 girls have been abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

Also: ‘Mystical’ bees and snakes are killing Boko Haram insurgents (
June 28 - BOKO Haram insurgents believe the ghosts of their victims are coming back to murder them in the form of killer bees and snakes.

Jordan court acquits radical cleric Abu Qatada of conspiracy (ABC News)
June 27 - Jordan's state security court has acquitted radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada, who was extradited from Britain last year, of charges of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism.

Sri Lanka arrests looters behind religious riots (The West Australian)
June 28 - Colombo (AFP) - Sri Lanka's police arrested key suspects involved in fuelling religious riots and looting, an official said on Saturday as minority Muslims expressed fears of more unrest ahead of Ramadan.

Religious Violence - ISIS in Iraq

Isis captures more Iraqi towns and border crossings (The Guardian, Australia)
June 23 - Jihadist fighters in Iraq seized three border crossings into Syria and Jordan and four nearby towns over the weekend, giving the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) control over much of the country's western frontier and directly threatening the country's main power supply.

Obama: Isis could pose a 'medium and long-term threat' to the US (The Guardian, Australia)
June 23 - The Islamic extremists who have seized swathes of Iraq could destabilise the entire region and threaten the United States, President Barack Obama has warned.

Iraqi troops push to retake Tikrit from rebels, parties pursue talks (The West Australian)
June 27 - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi government forces backed by helicopter gunships began an offensive on Saturday to retake the northern city of Tikrit from Sunni Islamist militants while party leaders pursued talks that could end Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's divisive rule.

Family forced to flee their home as sectarian tensions in Iraq reach boiling point (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 28 - When Sunni militants painted an “X” on the front of her house in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Um Ban knew she and her family would have to flee.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist group poised to succeed al-Qaeda (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 28 - The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is poised to replace al-Qaeda as the unifier of global terrorism and leading jihadi threat to the West, a terrorism expert says.

Iraqi forces launch attacks on Tikrit (The Guardian, Australia)
June 28 - Iraqi forces have launched attacks in an attempt to take back Tikrit which was captured in recent weeks by extremist Sunni militants, it has been reported.

Iraq's army claims victory over ISIS in Tikrit amid large-scale offensive (ABC News)
June 29 - Authorities in Iraq claim to have retaken the city of Tikrit from Sunni insurgents who captured it two weeks ago after seizing Iraq's second city of Mosul.


Second priest defies Church of England to marry his same sex partner (The Guardian, Australia)
June 23 - A second priest has defied the Church of England's official line to marry his same sex partner.

Priest guilty of bigamy (Canberra Times)
June 23 - As a priest, Alec Stevenson knew the ins and outs of marriage law.

Dogs, debris and Satan make their mark at Oklahoma capitol (The West Australian)
June 27 - OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - As part of her grand plan to visit all 50 U.S. state capitols before her 70th birthday, Deidra Horan drove to Oklahoma City a few weeks ago.

Thousands in Singapore gay rights rally despite opposition (The West Australian)
June 28 - Singapore (AFP) - Thousands of people gathered in Singapore on Saturday for an annual gay rights rally celebrating sexual diversity in the city-state, despite fierce opposition from religious conservatives.

Russia bans Marilyn Manson 'sadomasochistic' gig (The West Australian)
June 28 - Moscow (AFP) - A concert by US shock rocker Marilyn Manson has been cancelled in a major Russian city over fears his performance would insult Orthodox believers and promote sadomasochism.



Number of Australian jihadists serving with terrorists in Iraq and Syria prompts security rethink (ABC News)
June 23 - The Abbott Government is considering new measures to deal with Australians serving with terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Also: Julie Bishop outlines domestic safety threat returning jihadists pose (The Age, Melbourne)
June 23 - Australians fighting with extremists in Iraq and Syria is ''one of the most disturbing developments'' in domestic security for some time, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says.

Convicted Australian terrorist used brother's passport to join fight in Syria (The Guardian, Australia)
June 23 - The foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has confirmed that an Australian jihadist, who is believed to be involved in the murder of Iraqi citizens, left Australia for the battlefield in Syria using his brother’s passport.

Australian jihadist Zakaryah Raad, 22, believed killed in Iraq violence (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
June 23 - A MUSLIM radical who held down a man as he was whipped with an electrical cord 40 times in Sydney’s west has reportedly been killed fighting with terror group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Father of 'child bride' granted bail under new laws (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 23 - A father accused of allowing his 12-year-old daughter to get ‘‘married’’ during an Islamic ceremony has been granted bail under new laws, despite a magistrate describing the case against him as ‘‘abhorrent, disgusting and disgraceful’’.

Q Society spreading anti-mosque message in Bendigo (The Age, Melbourne)
June 23 - The anti-Islam group that brought controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders to Australia has emerged as a key force behind protests against the building of a mosque in Bendigo.

Also: UK 'mosque-buster' advising Bendigo residents opposed to Islamic centre (The Guardian, Australia)
June 23 - A UK adviser to opponents of a proposed mosque in Bendigo is known as a “mosque-buster” who boasts of his record of using planning laws to block mosque applications.

Would growing up in Bendigo have been different with a mosque? (The Guardian, Australia)
June 24 – (Opinion: Tasneem Chopra) I had a typical upbringing in Bendigo: bush dances, netball, and singing hymns at the local school.

250 people heckle Gold Coast councillor Chris Robbins over proposal to build mosque  (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
June 23 - A MIGHTY storm didn’t deter a crowd of 250 from gathering in Currumbin Waters yesterday afternoon to object to the building of a mosque in the area.

'Honour killings' speech prompts boycott of Festival of Dangerous Ideas (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 24 - A speaker at the upcoming Festival of Dangerous Ideas will seek to defend so-called honour killings - the murder of women deemed to have brought shame or dishonour on their family.

George Brandis urges imams to deter Muslims from fighting in Middle East (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 25 - Attorney-General George Brandis has urged the nation's most senior Islamic leaders to use their "moral authority" to dissuade young Muslims from going to fight with extremists in Syria and Iraq.

Cancellation of Muslim speaker’s lecture ‘reveals deep Islamophobia’ (The Guardian, Australia)
June 25 - A Sydney-based Muslim speaker has said the public outcry that prompted the Opera House to cancel his lecture called Honour Killings Are Morally Justified reveals the “extent and depth” of Islamophobia in Australia.

Also: Festival of Dangerous Ideas cancels event titled Honour Killings are Morally Justified (ABC News)
June 25 - An event at the Sydney Opera House examining whether honour killings can be morally justified has been cancelled after public outcry.

Also: Hizb ut-Tahri 'honour killings' speaker hits at ban by festival organisers (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 26 - The organisers of a Sydney Opera House festival who dumped a talk on ''honour killings'' should have had more backbone and stuck to their program, the Islamic activist scheduled to give the speech says.

Mayor steers clear of mosque debate (The West Australian)
June 26 - Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor Ron Yuryevich insisted he would not "add fuel to the fire" when asked to comment on a proposed mosque in central Kalgoorlie.

Also: Christian leaders oppose Kalgoorlie mosque (The West Australian)
June 26 - Opposition to a proposed mosque in central Kalgoorlie has been described as "illogical, crazy and ridiculous".

2GB presenter dropped after prophet Mohammad comments (
June 28 - RADIO presenter Michael Smith has been dropped from an upcoming three-week stint on 2GB after finding himself at the centre of a religious storm earlier this week.

Also: Radio presenter Michael Smith dumped after comments about the Prophet Mohammed (ABC News)
June 29 - Sydney talkback radio host Michael Smith has been told he will no longer be filling in on 2GB after making controversial comments about the Prophet Mohammed.

Perth Muslim praises extremists (The West Australian)
June 28 - A radical Perth preacher has praised militants responsible for beheadings and mass killings in Iraq and labelled Christians and Jews filthy rapists.

Also: Bishop confirms Islamist video probe in Perth (The Australian)
June 29 - AUSTRALIAN authorities are investigating a radical Perth preacher who allegedly praised Islamist militants accused of terrorism in the Middle East.

Canberra scrambles to deal with the returning jihadists (Sydney Morning Herald)  
June 29 - Australian jihadists joining fighting forces in Syria and Iraq are overwhelmingly coming from NSW and Victoria, and the federal government is forging new intelligence ties with Middle Eastern countries to deal with the threat.



Inside the temple of Perth's growing Sikh community (ABC News)
June 24 - Perth's Sikh community continues to grow, with up to 500 people going to the temple in Canning Vale every week. 720 ABC Perth's John McGlue visited for Sunday prayers with Sikh association president John Singh.

Religious leaders arrested at MP Jamie Briggs' Adelaide Hills electorate office (ABC News)
June 24 - Nine religious leaders have taken their campaign to highlight people kept in indefinite immigration detention to the electorate office of Adelaide Hills federal MP Jamie Briggs.

Church leaders chained to cross at mine (The West Australian)
June 26 - Three religious leaders who chained themselves to a cross to protest against a mine in NSW's northwest have been arrested by police.

Outrage after student allowed blade (The West Australian)
June 27 - An attempt to inform parents of children at a southern suburbs primary school why Sikh students are allowed to carry a ceremonial dagger has led to a public backlash.



From the Archive…

Religion News Australia 2014 – 21 (June 15 - 22)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 20 (June 8 - 15)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 19 (June 1 - 8)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 18 (May 25 – June 1)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 17 (May 18 - 25)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 16 (May 11 - 18)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 15 (May 4 - 11)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 14 (April 27 – May 4)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 13 (April 20 - 27)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 12 (April 12 - 20)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 11 (Mar 30 – April 12)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 10 (Mar 23 - 30)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 9 (Mar 16 - 23)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 8 (Mar 9 - 16)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 7 (Mar 3 - 9)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 6 (Feb 23 – Mar 3)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 5 (Feb 16 - 23)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 4 (Feb 9 - 16)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 3 (Feb 2 - 9)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 2 (Jan 26 – Feb 2)

Religion News Australia 2014 – 1 (Jan 4 - 26)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 53 (Dec 29 – Jan 4)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 52 (Dec 22 - 29)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 51 (Dec 15 - 22)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 50 (Dec 8 - 15)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 49 (Dec 1 - 8)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 48 (Nov 23 – Dec 1)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 47 (Nov 17 - 23)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 46 (Nov 10 - 17)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 45 (Nov 3 - 10)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 44 (Oct 27 – Nov 3)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 43 (Oct 20 - 27)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 42 (Oct 13 - 20)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 41 (Oct 6 - 13)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 40 (Sept 29 – Oct 6)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 39 (Sept 22 - 29)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 38 (Sept 15 - 22)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 37 (Sept 8 - 15)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 36 (Sept 1 - 8)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 35 (Aug 25 – Sept 1)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 34 (Aug 18 - 25)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 33 (Aug 11 - 18)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 32 (Aug 4 - 11)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 31 (July 28 – Aug 4)

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Religion News Australia 2013 – 15 (Apr 7 - 14)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 14 (Mar 31 – Apr 7)

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Religion News Australia 2013 – 12 (Mar 17 - 24)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 11 (Mar 10 - 17)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 10 (Mar 3 - 10)

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Religion News Australia 2013 – 5 (Jan 27 – Feb 3)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 4 (Jan 20 - 27)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 3 (Jan 13 - 20)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 2 (Jan 6 - 13)

Religion News Australia 2013 – 1 (Dec 30 – Jan 6)



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